"Present Tense: 2019" Conference

Why Philadelphia

We can’t think of a more perfect place to hold this year’s conference than the city of Philadelphia, a thriving educational and creative hub for craft and a case study for the way in which creative practices influence a whole community. While you’re in town, you’ll encounter that firsthand on tours of local artists' studios, museum collections, and more.

Tours: Thursday and Friday

Join us for a free walking tour or bus tour of the city. When you register for the conference, you have the option of selecting one tour each day. Learn more below about the tours offered.

Walking Tours of Philadelphia

Discover historic and contemporary craft connections on this walking tour led by Jennifer Zwilling of the Clay Studio and Christopher Storb, Dietrich American Foundation Project Conservator at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia has been a vibrant craft hub for more than 300 years. Join us as we venture out to explore the magnificent and historically important architectural fabric of the city. As you travel from Independence Mall to Old City, you’ll learn about the craftspeople who created Independence Hall, Christ Church (where George Washington worshiped), the Betsy Ross House, Elfreth's Alley, and the current craft artists in residence at the Clay Studio and the Center for Art in Wood.

Bus Tours

Join us on tours – in partnership with CraftNOW Philadelphia – to explore some of some of Philadelphia’s most exciting maker spaces. Buses will travel from Center City to visit Globe Dye Works, MaKen Studios, and Bahdeebahdu.

About Globe Dye Works

A former yarn-dyeing factory, Globe Dye Works has been transformed into a community of artists, designers, and fabricators. Tour the studios of Brian Giniewski and Stacey Lee Webber, while also seeing a brand new gallery and event spaces.

About MaKen Studios

Short for “Made in Kensington” and comprised of nearly 300,000-square-feet, MaKen Studios is comprised of two repurposed, industrial buildings in north Philadelphia that foster the development and sustainability of successful professional craftspeople, entrepreneurs, small businesses, and manufacturers.

About Bahdeebahdu

Bahdeebahdu is the working studio of Warren Muller, chandelier and light installation artist, and RJ Thornburg, whose interior design projects yield to the unexpected. This wondrous space showcases their combined focus on contemporary art, craft, and design with a philosophy rooted in beauty, pleasure, and humor.

More to Explore

Our friends at CraftNOW Philadelphia have put together a great resource for exploring craft in the city by neighborhood. Be sure to check out their partner directory, if you're looking for more to see and do.